Culture Types (Deal and Kennedy)

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Distinguishing four generic types of corporate culture. Explanation of Culture Types of Deal and Kennedy. (1982)


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Culture Types (Deal and Kennedy)What are Culture Types? Description

Terrence Deal and Allan Kennedy were among the first to write about corporate culture. In their 1982 book Corporate Cultures: The Rites and Rituals of Corporate Life, they define organizational culture as the way things get done around here.

Deal and Kennedy argue corporate culture is based on an interlocking of six elements: history, values and beliefs, rituals and ceremonies, stories, heroic figures and the informal cultural network of storytellers, gossipers, whisperers, spies and priests. Their Culture Types model distinguishes four corporate culture types, based on two elements:

  • Feedback Speed: How quickly are feedback and rewards provided (through which the people are told they are doing a good or a bad job).
  • Degree of Risk: The level of risk taking (degree of uncertainty).

The combination of these two elements results in four types of corporate cultures:

  1. Tough-Guy Macho Culture (Fast feedback and reward, high risk):
    • Stress results from the high risk and the high potential decrease or increase of the reward.
    • Focus on now, individualism prevails over teamwork.
    • Typical examples: advertising, brokerage, sports.
  2. Work-Hard, Play-Hard Culture (Fast feedback and reward, low risk):
    • Stress results from quantity of work rather than uncertainty.
    • Focus on high-speed action, high levels of energy.
    • Typical examples: sales, restaurants, software companies.
  3. Process Culture (Slow feedback and reward, low risk):
    • Stress is generally low, but may come from internal politics and stupidity of the system.
    • Focus on details and process excellence.
    • Typical examples: bureaucracies, banks, insurance companies, public services.
  4. Bet-Your-Company Culture (Slow feedback and reward, high risk):
    • Stress results from high risk and delay before knowing if actions have paid off.
    • Focus on long-term, preparation and planning.
    • Typical examples: pharmaceutical companies, aircraft manufacturers, oil prospecting companies.

Book: Terrence E. Deal, Allan A. Kennedy - Corporate Cultures: The Rites and Rituals of Corporate Life (1982) -

Book: Terrence E. Deal, Allan A. Kennedy - The New Corporate Cultures (2000) -

Culture Types Forum
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I am in the process of drafting proposal for my doctoral studies on the above subject. Would appreciate if one has developed a model or a framework to link the three parameters....
  Connecting Culture and the Dominant Strategy
The flaw in the Deal and Kennedy model is that it does not connect culture to the strategies being implemented by the organization.
In my book, The Alpha Strategies, Understanding Strategy, Risk, and Values in Any Organization, I argue that ther...
  12 Culture Factors of Drennan?
Has anyone heard of Drennan and his 12 factors in which you can recognize a corporate culture? He is the one who said culture is 'The way we do things around here'. There's so little on him and his theories on the net....
  The Effects of Leadership on Organizational Culture
Hi, I am currently researching on "The effects of leadership on organizational culture" for my thesis. I am enrolled for the MSc in leadership and change management.
Your ideas and comments will be highly appreciated.
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Of what does a high performance work culture consists...?...
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  Culture Types Useful Model
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  International Culture Types
I think that the four culture types model has now become too limited. Not many of the types work well for third-world country or current developing nation cultures..
Who knows of a corporate culture model like the one from Kennedy and Deal, but ...

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Culture Types Deal Kennedy


Corporate Culture


Culture Types Deal Kennedy


Corporate Culture


Culture Types Deal Kennedy


Corporate Culture


Culture Types Deal Kennedy


Corporate Culture

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